Prediction: If you’re a sausage lover who hasn’t tried chorizo, you’ll be running out to find some after reading this.
Chorizo, for the uninitiated, is a salty sausage found in Mexican and Spanish cuisine, and it’s oozing with flavors that keep you coming back for bite after bite.
There are slight — but delicious — differences between the various types, so we tapped Aarón Sánchez, award-winning chef, TV personality and spokesperson for Cacique foods, to break down the tastiness.
Both Mexican and Spanish chorizo are must-tries, but they’re not total twinsies. “Mexican-style chorizo is actually raw meat that’s been heavily seasoned with dry chilies and aromatic spices like cinnamon and clove. Spanish chorizo is a hard sausage that’s been cured like a salami,” explains Sánchez.
Mexican chorizo can be made from pork, beef, or even soy, and it’s so saturated with the flavors of herbs and spices that it requires barely any manipulation to make it taste great. “You will sometimes find special names like Longaniza, which describes a particular style of Mexican chorizo,” Sánchez adds. “They’re very regional.”
But Sánchez has a favorite way to prepare the spicy sausage that’s sure to make your mouth water.
“There’s really no wrong way to eat chorizo, but I like to make a taco with Mexican-style pork chorizo, grilled pineapple, some beautiful Mexican cheese, and tons of cilantro,” he says. “If I have Longaniza, it’s all about the eggs with some roasted chiles and onion. It makes for a perfect breakfast taco.”
For Spanish chorizo, add it to a cheese plate or crisp it up in a pan and use it as a crispy, salty, crunchy element in a salad or cheesy dish (chorizo fondue, anyone?!).
One of the most beautiful aspects of chorizo is that it’s perfect for when you’re feeling creative. In fact, it doesn’t even have to strictly stay within the bounds of Mexican cuisine.
“One of my favorite ways to use chorizo is in a stuffing for Thanksgiving turkey. You can do traditional components of stuffing, such as cooked cornbread, but then amp it up with chorizo,” says Sánchez. “It’s great when you pair it with something that doesn’t have a lot of inherent flavor, like chicken or turkey.”
Need a starting point for your sausage? Try some of our favorite recipes for chorizo.
A lighter, spicier take on surf and turf, this pasta pairs briny clams and Mexican chorizo sausage with fresh parsley, garlic, and a little vodka.
Think of this mushroom and chorizo pizza as an open-faced alternative to our mushroom and chorizo quesadillas — but know that you can’t go wrong with either one.
Mix soft Mexican chorizo with ground pork for burger patties that make ground beef seem bland. Then top this fabulous pork burger with grilled Anaheim chilies and cooling avocado.
Scotch eggs are a traditional U.K. pub treat, but swapping in chorizo for the usual breakfast sausage gives them a uniquely Mexican flavor. Isn’t it great when nations come together through food?
Chorizo tacos are good any time, including in the a.m. Pair sliced Spanish chorizo with crisp potatoes and a fried egg for a super filling breakfast.
If you’re feeling more ambitious, either variety of chorizo works wonderfully in an empanada too. These hand-held pastries are like a savory Pop Tart.
Speaking of amazing breakfasts, how ’bout the equivalent of nachos for breakfast? (You’re an adult, so yeah, you can eat nachos for breakfast if you choose.)